Establishment of Lampang Eye Foundation
Lampang Eye Foundation was officially formed by a group of ophthalmologists and registered nurses of department of ophthalmology of Lampang Hospital in 1978. During that time, the organization was initiated as a charity fund aiming to serve underprivileged and needy people, patients who lived in rural and remote areas, as well as those who lack access to eye services of good quality. In addition, the fund also supported additional eye instruments for Lampang hospital, such as a microscope used for eye surgery and even the first laser machine for curing eye diseases in the north of Thailand. More importantly, the funding also contributed to empirical study regarding ophthalmological treatment conducted by medical practitioners of all levels in Lampang. It was apparent that the process of the funding substantially helps improve service delivery. In 1984, in order to enhance the quality of performance and expand the extent of services for more disadvantaged people, the charity fund has been changed its status to foundation, namely “Lampang Eye Foundation” on December 13, 1984. The foundation initially received gracious donations of 200,000 baht from Mr. Prasit and Mrs. Nuansri Suwannaprathip and 60,000 baht from Mr. Sun and Mrs. Sumitra Worawongprapha. Mr. Boonsom Phondee, a public health physician of Lampang, took up the position of the first foundation president, together with Mrs. Wattanee Yenjit, an ophthalmologist of Lampang Hospital, who held the position of a foundation secretariat. Additionally, there were Mr. Sun Worawongprapha, Mrs. Nattinee Thinphang-nga, along with Mrs. Boonthiam Suwanna-aat assigned to be members of the foundation committee. Likewise, Ms. Saengchan Wanachayangkul, Mrs. Khamlee Tantiphong, Mrs. Sunee Wilepananon, Mrs. Sarattina Hemchinda, Mrs. Malee Sumettikul are also members of the committee who have worked tirelessly since the onset until now.
In 1993, Christian Foundation for the Blind in Thailand under Royal Patronage directed by Mr. Prayat Phunong-ong, a foundation president, providing various activities to promote vocational training and comprehensive education for visually impaired people all over the northern part of Thailand had a rewarding opportunity to collaborate with Lampang Eye Foundation to establish Lampang Skill Development Center for the Blind. Initially, the center obtained funds from the example person of Tarn Narmjai Foundation awarded by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, worth 50,000 baht. In this regard, Mr. Niwat Sirinawin cordially donated a 12-Rai piece of open land for center location at 128/1 Suk Sawas Road, Phrabat, Muang, Lampang 52000. During that time, 3 buildings were constructed with generous supports from Lions Club International Foundation Lampang, Dr. Martin Cozimson, a Dutch ophthalmologist from Dark and Light Foundation, as well as every heart of Lampang people with the total cost of approximately 8.5 million baht, continuously kicking off the extensive maneuver of rehabilitation and development of the visually impaired in Lampang.
In 1996, Lampang Eye Foundation submitted a request to launch a school for the blind in order to give a royal charity to His Majesty the King and also to celebrate in the auspicious occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary of His Majesty’s Accession to the Throne. The foundation was gratified to be given a permission to decorate the official emblem at the entrance of the center. The school permit was officially granted for building the school on May 16, 1996 under supervision of Office of Private Education Commission. In this regard, Her Royal Highness Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, with the royal grace, came to open Lampang Skill Development Center and Lampang School for the Blind on March 11, 1997.
As you might expect, the foundation has continuously committed to delivering quality eye services for needy people in rural and remote areas, providing education services for children with visual impairment, along with improving quality of life of visually impaired people, regardless of race, gender, and age.